Maggie Lewen will repay the Warriors Community Foundation’s Homeless Rugby Team for the help they have given her by supporting the charity through the Big Worcester Sleep Out next month.
The 31-year-old joined the homeless team four years ago when she was living at the YMCA in Worcester and has since gone on to represent the England homeless team alongside her partner Richard Oxenbury with whom she now shares a flat with their two young sons.
Lewen has also found part-time work at the Bonmarche store in Worcester and, if her employers are amenable, will join her partner in the Sleep Out at Warriors’ Sixways stadium on April 4.
The Sleep Out aims to raise £65,000 which will be shared between the Warriors Community Foundation Homeless Rugby Team, St Paul’s Hostel and Maggs Day Centre.
“We need to make people aware of homelessness whether it’s someone living on the streets or in a hostel,” Lewen said.
“People need to understand it from the other person’s situation. They need our help and they need somewhere safe to sleep at night.”
Although Lewen has never had to sleep rough she twice found herself homeless after the break-up of a relationship and stayed with friends before moving to the YMCA.
There she was persuaded to start playing touch rugby and has not looked back since.
“At the YMCA there were quite a few people involved in the homeless rugby team and they asked me if I would come along and see what it was like. I went training, enjoyed it and now I am hooked,” Lewen said.
“Rugby has helped me to build up my confidence. I have made some good friends as well and I have developed a new skill.
“I didn’t think I would enjoy it. I thought it would be more for blokes than women. When I started I was nervous but I soon got used to it and I enjoyed it. It’s a lot of fun and you get to meet new people from the different teams that we play against.
“We are like a family. We look after each other and support each other. We try to help each other out whenever we can.
“We have become a unit. If someone needs something they know they can come to us and talk to us and we will see what we can do to help them.”
The homeless team also help themselves by organising a range of fund-raising activities to fund new kit and travel to away matches.
The Big Worcester Sleep Out is an opportunity to raise a substantial sum of money which will enable the Warriors Community Foundation Homeless Rugby Team to transform the lives of more people like Maggie Lewen.
To support Maggie Lewen and other volunteers taking part in the Big Worcester Sleep Out click here.